Is AAA Membership Worth It?

If you need even a single tow during the year, your AAA membership could be worth the cost.
Written by Jacoba Bood
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
background
AAA memberships come with a lot more perks than just roadside assistance—but you might be able to find cheaper coverage through your
car insurance
provider. 
  • AAA can be great for added peace of mind, especially if you take advantage of the other perks and discounts that come with your membership.
  • You may find you need to upgrade to a higher tier to get the protection you need.
  • AAA may cost more than other similar services.

Your AAA membership costs will vary by region

You can generally expect to pay somewhere in the ballpark of $40 to $80 per person annually for the base-level AAA membership. Higher-tier benefits could come with a yearly price tag of up to $165 a person.
AAA, or the American Automobile Association, is technically not a single company—it’s a federation of motor clubs. That means that each separate AAA club offers the same membership tiers and benefits, but your exact membership costs will depend on your local club.

Your AAA benefits depend on your membership tier

AAA includes the following membership benefits for each of their membership tiers, regardless of state or region.
Perk
AAA Classic Tier
($38–$74/year)
AAA Plus Tier
($60–$124/year)
AAA Premier Tier
($77–$164/year)
Jumpstart/dead battery services
Fuel services
Free fuel delivery
Flat tire services
Car lockout services
$50 limit
$100 limit
$150 limit
Home lockout services
$150 limit
Towing service
3–7 miles each
Max 4 per year
Up to 100 miles each
Max 4 per year
Up to 100 miles each
Max 3 per year
Up to 200 miles
Max 1 per year
Free one-day car rental with tow
Trip disruption coverage
$1500 limit
Our experience: “I was driving home one Sunday morning when I heard a loud bang and saw huge clouds of smoke pouring out of my tailpipe. I pulled off the freeway and called AAA, and a tow truck came within 20 minutes. They even gave us a ride to the mechanic! On Monday, I found out the mechanic had moved, so I called AAA again. They came within 25 minutes and towed us to a new mechanic.” —Kerri B., Administrative assistant, Jerry
AAA offers up a very diverse range of auto-saving potential. Just keep in mind that the availability of these discounts might vary according to where you live and the membership level you choose.
AAA’s auto discounts include:
  • Locksmith service discounts
  • CARFAX report
    discounts
  • Windshield repair or replacement discounts
  • Rental car and moving van discounts through Hertz
  • Battery purchase and installation discounts
  • Auto partner discounts for AAA-approved auto repair shops and auto body shops
  • Oil change discounts
Our experience: “I used AAA to tow my broken, wrecked car to the dealership so I could trade it in and buy a new one!” —David R., FMT agent, Jerry

AAA offers several other benefits and savings

AAA may be an auto club—but the benefits don’t stop at auto discounts. To take full advantage of your membership, be sure to check out these AAA discounts and perks: 
  • Retailer discounts
  • Restaurant.com gift certificates and sit-down restaurant discounts
  • Online food and drink discounts
  • Travel agency services through AAA Travel
  • Road trip planning through Triptik
  • Hotel discounts through partnerships with Hilton, Best Western, and more
  • Financial service discounts
  • Passport photo, notary service, and identity theft protection discounts
  • Pet supplies discounts

AAA insurance cost and features

If you are looking for affordable auto insurance, it may be worth enrolling in an AAA membership. However, there are a few important things to consider before choosing
AAA’s car insurance
coverage for your next policy:
  • AAA auto insurance is only available to AAA members. If you don’t have a membership already, it may not be worth shelling out the extra membership fees just to save on your insurance.
  • AAA insurance rates will vary from club to club. Some AAA clubs work with national, regional, or local providers to secure low AAA member rates. Other clubs will function more like local insurance agents, connecting you to insurance providers in the area.
  • You’ll have to call for pricing. The only way to get an idea of how much you might be able to save by purchasing your car insurance is to call up your local AAA office to find out more.
Did you know? AAA also offers homeowners, renters, condo, and life insurance!

Pros and cons of AAA

Pros:
  • They’re available 24/7. If you’re stranded in the middle of the night or on a weekend, it can be hard to find a tow. With AAA, you don’t have to worry about that—they’re always on call.
  • They’re fast. According to aaa.com, AAA claims to have an average response time that’s 20 minutes faster than other similar roadside assistance companies. And while the response time depends on when and where you break down, many AAA customers agree. 
  • Using one tow can cover the cost of the Classic plan. You’d easily pay more for a single tow than you’ll pay for a whole year on the Classic tier—so you’re already saving money if you break down even once.
  • There are a ton of additional benefits and discounts. Roadside assistance might be AAA’s main draw, but as we discussed above, they also offer a lot of perks that could be worth the cost of membership.
  • The coverage follows you. With traditional auto insurance, your coverage follows your car. AAA’s roadside assistance follows you, so you’re covered no matter what vehicle you’re in. 
Our experience: “My brother lives in New York, and he was visiting me in Canada when my battery died. He had AAA, and even though he was in Canada and my vehicle wasn’t the one on his plan, they still sent someone out, verified his AAA membership card, and jumpstarted my truck in under an hour. Now I keep CAA and he has AAA so we’re always covered!” —Jocelyn H., Service, Jerry
Cons: 
  • It’s not a good value unless you use it often. If you have a newer, reliable vehicle—or if you don’t drive often—you may find that you can easily go a whole year without needing AAA’s roadside assistance services. If you’re not using the additional discounts either, you may not want to shell out the membership fees.
  • The Classic membership plan is a little bare-bones. While the Plus and Premier tiers offer perks like free fuel delivery and towing up to 100 miles, a Classic plan only offers tows up to 7 miles. 
  • Your plan costs can vary depending on where you live. As we mentioned before, the price of a AAA membership is based on your region. That means in some places, you’ll pay a lot more for the exact same service.
  • Other roadside assistance companies may cost less. AAA’s roadside assistance is versatile, but they’re not the cheapest service out there. It may be worth shopping around before you make a purchase.

Consider these AAA alternatives

If you are looking to save money on roadside assistance, there are AAA alternatives that might offer up more affordable plans.
  • Credit card companies: Many credit card options offer a pay-per-use option for roadside assistance. If you drive infrequently or have a low risk of getting stranded, pay-per-use roadside assistance could make more sense financially.
  • Cell phone companies: Popular cell phone providers will often offer roadside assistance services for five dollars a month or less. You might find the monthly billing cycle more manageable than the lump sum annual payment that you have to shell out for AAA. 
  • Car warranty protection: Some major car manufacturers automatically include limited roadside assistance protection with the purchase of a new vehicle. You can also talk to your dealership to discuss what roadside assistance programs they offer through their extended warranty programs.
  • Auto insurers: Most major insurance providers offer optional roadside assistance programs that you can add to your regular car insurance policy. You can often find comparable roadside assistance coverage for less than $20 a year.

So is a AAA membership worth it?

At first glance, an AAA membership could easily seem like a worthwhile investment. After all, roadside service calls can be incredibly costly, and $40–$165 a year seems like a small price to pay for peace of mind when out on the open road.
If you are looking to take advantage of all the other perks and discounts you can access through AAA, then an AAA membership could be a good choice. 
On the other hand, if all you need is roadside assistance, you may be able to get similar protection through another service.
Our experience: “I’ve had my own AAA membership for 10 years, but before that, I was on my mom’s from the time I started driving. I’ve used them for locking my keys in the car, running out of gas, blowing a tire, and more. And I just used my discount to book a hotel room!” -—Emily C., FMT agent, Jerry
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FAQs

The amount you pay for your AAA membership and perks (including roadside assistance) depends on which plan you select. The basic plan that includes roadside assistance will cost between $40 and $74 per year, depending on your state and county. Higher tiers of membership will cost more but offer better perks.
The second tier of AAA membership, AAA Plus, is a great option for those who appreciate what AAA has to offer and are willing to pay extra for some greater benefits. If you've tried the basic AAA membership plan and you want to continue using it, you may find that getting AAA Plus is worth it.
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